Columbia, Joplin win millions in lawsuit against CenturyLink

June 12, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The city of Columbia should receive nearly $54 million after a long legal battle with a telecommunications company over unpaid taxes, a judge has ruled.

A ruling from St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo last week also awarded the city of Joplin $1.1 million. Under the ruling, Columbia would also keep $2.3 million in business license taxes that CenturyLink paid under protest.

The two cities sued in 2014 over the unpaid local taxes. They claimed the company had not paid some of the required local taxes going back to 2007.

Ribaudo said CenturyLink offered “no credible rationale” for refusing to pay the taxes.

The telecommunications company argued the local business taxes should not apply to some of its services, and that the cities were seeking “exorbitant” damages, The Columbia Missourian reported.

CenturyLink, which rebranded as Lumen in September 2020, said it “strongly disagrees with the circuit court’s decision and intends to aggressively pursue its appellate rights,” KMIZ reported.